I have read hundreds of books over the course of my life. I have enjoyed many and sneered at some, but only a few have actually changed my life. I was laying in bed thinking about this last night when I couldn't sleep so I thought I'd share it with you. These are the five books that have, in some way, made me who I am today. Note: I'm not including the Bible because I think it's impact goes without saying, except that I just said it.
Fun with Dick and Jane was the first book I learned to read. My Bubba taught me to read when I was three. I remember her pointing to every word as we went along the page while I sounded them out. My personal fav was the story where Jane (or maybe her little sister Sally) got a new coat. Dick and Jane opened up an entire world of wonderful adventures and new friends. Plus, look at Jane's cute little dress! And "Mother" was always dressed to the nines as well, very June Cleaver.
I read P&P when I was in 7th or 8th grade. I was totally absorbed and amazed. I credit P&P with making me an Anglophile. I love all things British and have the highest respect for their authors. Maybe it's just that they have such a rich literary history to draw from but I think British writers are leaps and bounds better than American authors. P&P broadened my reading to include the classics but might have made me a bit a snob when it comes to reading a good romance. It's just hard to compete with Mr. Darcy. I actually own two copies of this book, one in hardcover in a boxed set that is kept in pristine condition and one that is paperback and so very worn because I pick it and start from any point whenever I need the comfort of familiar friends and a laid back pace.
I was in Mrs. Whitt's sophomore English class. She was the bane of 30 years' worth of high school students in our town mainly because she actually expected something out of her students. We had a huge reading list that we had to pick a certain number of books from (six maybe?) and I picked The Jungle for a totally unknown reason. I have never looked at meat the same way again. The Jungle isn't even primarily about the meatpacking industry, it's about the struggle of making a life in America and is more a social commentary than an industrial expose. Still, ask anyone who read the book what they most remember and their answer will be the pages describing the meat packing plant. It totally ruined all the ground meats and extruded meats (like bologna and hot dogs) for me. It honest to goodness changed my eating habits. I defy you to read it and not cringe at the processed meat fridge at the grocery.
I read this book in my Junior year when I was in AP Bio. I've read it at least once more since then; it is just That good! It is a thought provoking glance into different areas of science and the evidence that can be seen in each of those areas that points toward a Creator. My favorite, of course, was the genetics chapter but I remember being blown away by the astrophysics chapter too. Deep stuff, but explained in a dumbed down way so that you could get it.
I read this last year when we realized that my BC was the culprit behind my long lasting and incredibly painful migraines. I got the recommendation for this book from strangers on the internet lol. Some girls I chatted with on a forum told me about it when I was asking where should I go from there since hormonal BC was obviously not an option. Now, at the risk of sounding like a feminist, this book actually made me feel empowered. Using the stuff detailed in the book, I finally felt like I was in control of my body instead of just floating along wondering when crazy PMS would hit or if my monthly friend would show up unexpectedly. I seriously recommend this book for anyone who can't take BC pills or who just doesn't want to put unnecessary chemicals in her body.
Those are my top five life-altering books. What are yours? What should I add to my reading list and prepare for my mind to be blown?